Oh wait. She just did.
A few weeks ago, well before the Democratic debates, I was playing cards and drinking wine with two women friends — both fierce, passionate, smart and outspoken. We talked about the multiple states that are dialing back women’s rights to the point of Islamic rule. And we lamented about immigrant children detained at the border in cages. We were disturbed and outraged and afraid for our children, most especially our daughters.
The conversation drifted to the 2020 election just a few minutes later. Another sip of wine. Another hand dealt. And we started debating whether a woman can win the Presidency. We were divided, which is not surprising. So is the party.
So is the country.
“A woman can’t win. We can’t risk it.” My friend said it with a shrug of complacency and a matter-of-fact resolve. “Hillary proved that in 2016.”
A dead father and toddler just washed ashore on the border of the Rio Grande. The 15th woman just came forward accusing a sitting president of rape, an accusation met with numb complacency. Multiple states are stripping away women’s rights (even miscarriages have been criminalized). We are debating the definition of concentration camps, and the U.S. was just ranked as one of the top 10 worst countries in the world to be a woman. The list includes Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Afghanistan . . . and the United States. And yet, there we sat, three powerful women — mothers, business owners, community leaders — seemingly unfazed that in 20-freaking-20, we are questioning whether a woman can win the Presidency.
Well, I can’t let it go. I am fazed. Really fucking fazed.
I get it. I have also questioned the risk of nominating a woman to defeat Trump (even though I fiercely argued the other side). On the one hand, Hilary won the popular vote. Women won in record number in 2018. Leadership surveys suggest qualities associated with women are the most desired. And yet, a woman lost the presidential election in 2016. And worse? It was white women, women not unlike the three of us, who facilitated her stunning defeat.
Excuse me while I go scream into a pillow. You know what? Forget the pillow. Excuse me while I scream, loudly and openly, channeling all the rage that is fueled by the daily affront to my intelligence and freedom. It was white women, not unlike the three of us, who voted for a man who openly bragged about sexually assaulting women. Who, just this week, chose to confront the 15th woman who accused him of sexual assault by saying “she isn’t my type.”
I’ve been thinking a lot about the conversation about “electability” and women — not just the question of whether a woman can win — but more so the fact that we, as women, are not united in our outrage that this is still something we question. Just today, I am seeing women all over social media saying that the country isn’t ready for a woman.
I am starting to believe that the comment is a form of gaslighting. “A woman can’t win.” Let’s say it over and over again until we all believe it. Step aside, ladies. This is a man’s job. A woman can’t win. We can’t risk it. Hillary proved that. Enter Joe Biden. And Bernie. And Mayor Pete. And. And. And.
Do we really believe that a single loss by one woman is a proof point that not one woman — out of over half the population of the country — can prevail over the most incompetent president in modern history? How is this not a completely asinine question? Consider the question in the context of ANY. OTHER. ROLE. Can a woman prevail? OF COURSE, SHE CAN.
And by the way, she did. Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, along with Gillibrand and Klobuchar were the clear winners of this weeks’ debates. By a mile. By 100 miles. By a light year.
We need to shine a bright halogen bulb on the falsehood that the country is not ready for a woman. I believe the country is not only ready, but in desperate need of womanly compassion and empathy. Our nation should be led with warmth, maturity and understanding. We need a leader who will put the needs of others before themselves. The nation needs a big fat mom-hug, diplomacy, maturity and wisdom.
Our future depends on it.
So how do we make it happen? It is time we prove that women can support other women. If every woman voted . . . we’d win by a landslide. A LANDSLIDE. Sing it with me, Stevie Nicks.
But first, I have just one request. Women, WE need to STOP saying a woman cannot win. Right now. We need to agree that it is a form of gaslighting, and we need to stop repeating this line of bullshit. Instead, it’s time that we say this instead: A woman can win. A woman MUST win.
It is our time.